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Spring Break in Biloxi...Grand Casino, Hard Rock, Beau Rivage, IP, & Palace

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by RebelDiceMan, Mar 27, 2008.

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  1. RebelDiceMan

    RebelDiceMan VIP Whale

    Mar 30, 2004
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    This will probably be another long, overly detailed TR of my trip to the MS Gulf Coast casinos during Spring Break. If you like that kind, stick around. If you hate long TRs, this might be one to skip.

    Ahh, Spring Break...One of the best rewards given to us educators. The Baboo and I made the Grand Casino our destination a couple of weeks ago to enjoy a little fun in the sun with (hopefully) a little good gambling on the side. We had a pretty uneventful drive down (the highlight was a stop at Rose's Barbeque just south of Hattiesburg) and arrived just in the nick of time at the Grand. If we had been two minutes later getting to the front desk, an entire busload of junketeers would have been in front of us. As it was, we were taking the elevator to our room in less than 5 minutes. The room was nicely appointed and very comfortable. The only disappointment was the lack of a coffee maker. Our bellman explained that the new owners of HET had ordered them removed. Maybe so, but I am always suspicious when a property locates a Starbucks next to the elevators and then the coffee makers disappear. Be that as it may, we were very pleased with the room. It had a nice view of the Gulf and everything to the West, including the panoramic sunsets. I always bring binoculars and I enjoyed occasionally checking out the watercraft in the gulf. 10/15 minutes after we got to the room, the phone rang. It was the desk clerk (Doug) who had checked us in calling to see if we were satisfied with our accomodations and asking if there was anything else he could do for us. We were satisfied but I thought that it was nice that he checked to be sure.

    The Baboo wanted to freshen up so I told her to catch up to me at the VP bar in front of the stage. I had a mailout for a Diamond gift so I swung by the special events desk and picked up a nice black polo shirt with Total Rewards Diamond Member embroidered on it. Since I wear a lot of polos and black is probably my favorite shirt color, this shirt was perfect for me. Finding a seat at the VP bar, I commenced my chase for a Royal. I did notice one oddity when I put my card in. My TR information had not been updated to reflect that last trip to New Orleans a month previously. In fact, the reader indicated my most recent activity was last Thanksgiving here at The Grand. At least everything was up-to-date by the next day. One thing that wasn't out of date was the prompt and courteous service from the bartenders. Even though I was kind of around on the end of the bar, I never came close to finishing a beer before they had a replacement sitting there waiting on me.

    The $ JOB I was playing had a 8/6 paytable and was hooked into a progressive for the Royal. I played a while and had a few hits. I got down to my last 5 credits on the first hundy I put in and then caught the 4OAK (Aces) that I needed to get me some breathing room. That allowed me to play until the Baboo came downstairs without reloading the machine with money. I cashed out with a decent profit of $50 thanks to hitting two straights back-to-back and a small flurry of flushes. We decided to check out the Diamond Lounge here and have a drink or two. The Grand Diamond Lounge is pretty small and the bar only seats 5 or 6 people. I think they tried to make up for it with some killer drinks. The Baboo got her a White Russian and I went with a Beck's Dark. Both were primo even if mine was just a beer. A taste of her White Russian convinced me that I needed one too so I switched when we got us a second round of drinks to walk with. They were a little short on the snacks. It was only an assortment of cheeses, crackers, fruit, and raw veggies w/ dip. Still, we weren't hungry and wouldn't be for a while thanks to that stop at Rose's on the way down. After this short visit, we made our way out to the floor. She went to drag some money out of some unsuspecting Top Dollar machine and I went back to the VP bar.

    Though I played a lot of hands, nothing of any real consequence happened and I just treaded water. Eventually I had enough of a down fluctuation that I had to re-invest if I wanted to keep playing. The fresh money didn't fare much better than the old money and I continued to just play along without anything that would get me far enough ahead to cash but without losing enough that I would go broke. At least I was building up my TR points and enjoying a steady supply of Miller Lites. One thing I did notice was that the Grand had to have the oldest median age of cocktail waitresses on the Gulf Coast. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, but some of these ladies were almost as old as me. ( and I am old as dirt) But give them credit, they got me my drinks when I was on the tables as quickly as any 21 year old could. Eventually, The Baboo retreived me and shared that she was going up to the room for a while. Ready for a break, I decided to walk up with her and cashed out with about a $100 loss on this machine. (actually for this session - I would wind up playing this same machine almost exclusively this trip) As we walked thru the lobby, I explained to her that they now had food here at the lobby bar 24 hours a day. We made a short detour over to the bar to read over the menu for a moment and decided that some of those things sounded pretty good.

    After a period of rest and recuperation , I got antsy and headed back down to the casino floor. I was pretty sure that the Baboo was in for the night. Desiring a change from VP, I found a seat on a double-deck pitch table. (hand-held blackjack using two decks) I was using my favorite $35-$50-$70 betting progression and started off pretty good. I jumped out ahead by $200 thanks to a couple of runs. (betting a progression works best if you can string together consecutive wins) Despite the occasional downturn, I was still about $150 ahead an hour later but could never seem to get my wins much over $200. If I could ever get it past $300, that would be my signal to cash out. I kept winning a good number of hands but just couldn't get over the hump. Then a series of unfortunate hands took a toll on both my bankroll and my good mood. These were all "big bet" hands that often-times make the difference between a winning session and a losing session. They were:
    hand #1 I doubled down a $50 bet for a total of $100 on the hand.....................LOST
    hand #2 I split 7's twice (3 hands total-$150 bet total on the hand)...................LOST (all 3)
    hand #3 I again doubled down a $70 bet for a total of $140 bet.........................LOST
    hand #4 I again split out to a total of 3 hands at $50 a hand.($150 total)........... LOST (all 3)

    These weren't sequential hands but they came close enough together that I made a note about them in my TR notes. I am sure I won some hands during that time too but these big losing hands made more of an impression on my memory. Anyway, I finally had enough and cashed out with a loss of $300.

    I made an effort to change my luck by moving over to a 3 card poker table. It didn't seem to do much good as I lost my first 9 hands without even getting a Q-10 that is my minimum to play. But Hurrah, Hurrah! Things all of a sudden looked much better when I looked down to see a beautiful 3-3-3. That 3 of a kind was certainly a welcome sight to sore eyes. That put me well in the black for this table. Even more importantly, this breakthrough seemed to open the gates for more good hands. I started catching pairs, flushes, and even a straight or two over the next two hours. I was finally up for the night. My mood improved considerably from when I left the blackjack table. I decided not to tempt fate and cashed out my winnings. 3CP is a very volatile game and I didn't want to give back my winnings just yet.

    Wanting to unwind just a tad, I made my way back over to the stage-front VP bar. Well, well, what have we here. Someone has won my Royal while I was gone, and not too long ago it seems. The progressive was now down to a paltry $4,013.48 for dollars. I put in my Benjamin anyway and got to playing. Those always attentive bartenders had me a fresh Miller Lite in front of me before I could even get my card & money in so I was set in that department too. It was good to sort of relax a little and plan my next move. As I consumed a couple of beers over the next 45 minutes, I somehow piddled up a win of $100 without hitting anything bigger than a flush. Doubling my money is good enough for me so I cashed out and decided to try another round of blackjack.

    Never scared of a challenge, I even went back to the table that was so unkind to me earlier. I settled in next to a great big biker sort of fellow in black cowboy hat. He turned out to be a nice enough guy and as we talked, he shared that he had been there since 8 AM that morning. He was certainly fresher and more energetic than I would have been. (it was approaching midnight by now) The blackjack karma on this table had certainly turned around. The dealer couldn't make a hand and everyone at the table was building their chip stacks. I even profited from the same type hands that were killing me earlier. Twice I was at the top of my progression ladder and doubled down a $70 bet with both hands turning into winners when the dealer busted. Before I moved on, I took $250 of The Grand's money with me. Blackjack is pretty fun when it goes like this.

    Since I seemed to be on a roll, I decided to see if my luck could take me to retirement. I like to spin one of the big progressive slots 10 times each day and now seemed like the ideal time. The Wheel of Fortune dollar progressive was over 12 million dollars and that is where I found myself. Putting in $40, I prepared to make it mine. NOT! I spun that machine 13 times (actually 14 if you count that last short coin spin with the odd dollar) and did not hit ONE SINGLE CREDIT. Yeah, not even a cherry. No wonder they can build up a 12 million dollar jackpot. There went my feeling of invinciblility that the 3 previous sessions had given me.

    Not being content to leave on such an unhappy note, I had to give blackjack one more whirl. I should have gone home. This last little foray would wind up costing me $300. I didn't have any outstandingly costly hands like the first big losing session but I just could never string together enough consecutive wins that you have to have if you are betting a progression. BTW- I know all the math experts say progressions don't change your EV over your lifetime of play. I won't waste time arguing that point but I know it sure changes my level of boredom and enhances my enjoyment of playing. Anyway, the WOF experience and this sucky table convinced me that I would be wise to call it a night while the night still showed a profit. So out the casino I went.

    By now it was after 2 AM and I was starving. A stop at the lobby bar was in order. One thing The Grand seems to have is pleasant, competent bartenders and this one was no exception. Due to my hunger (Rose's was now a distant memory to my digestive system) I ordered up their biggest breakfast. It was something along the line of "Super-Duper-Why Be A Pig, When You Can Be A Hog?" breakfast. I was really excited when they brought that big serving platter full of food and I had a wonderful time devouring almost every bite. BTW- did I mention that I go off my perpetual diet when I go on a casino trip? All joking aside, it really was a magnificent breakfast. The bacon was some of the best I have ever eaten and the grits were true Deep South glory. I knew that this delightful repaste would have me sleeping like a baby soon, so up the elevator I went. Once in that supremely comfortable King bed, I knew that I would be resting in the arms of Morpheus for quite a while.

    The next morning came much too early but I somehow roused myself with a little encouragement from The Baboo. I soon figured out why. With no coffee maker, it was time for me to make my run to Starbucks and get her some coffee. With still blurry eyes, I made my way down to Starbucks to get her some java go juice. To sweeten the deal, I also got us several selections from their bakery case. While standing in line to place my order (ugh), I noticed a Hemingwayesque gentleman sitting there enjoying his coffee, pastry and no less than 4 different pipes arrayed across his table. Over an hour later, this fellow was still sitting at the same table, reading his book and enjoying the morning. It looked like a relaxing way to pass some time. Of course, I will have to learn to drink coffee and smoke a pipe to do so.

    Since I was up and full of cinnamon rolls, I decided to hit the casino while she "got her face on". She knew to find me at my designated (#8189 if you want to chance it) VP machine. I figured I had about an hour and that turned out to be pretty accurate. In that time, I enjoyed one screwdriver and two Miller Lites. My VP was pretty good also. I hit 5 flushes (2 back to back) and 5 straights. One full house completed my notable wins. The only thing that was less than great was this aggravating slot machine about 10 feet behind me. It was a "Lucky Lemmings" and they had the sound volume up as high as it would go. Every time the lady playing it got a bonus round, Alvin the Chipmunk's voice would start screaming "How High Can It Go?". I was pretty sure they could hear it out in the parking garage. I hope I don't offend anyone who likes that machine but it was just too loud. Luckily for the lady (and unlucky for me), she seemed to be hitting that bonus just about every other spin. Finally, I was rescued by the Baboo who was ready to eat. As it was, I was able to squeeze a $70 profit out by the time I was summoned to lunch.

    My description of that delicious breakfast convinced her to try lunch down at the lobby bar. Most of the tables were occupied so we grabbed a couple of seats at the bar. From past experience I knew that "The Farmers Lunch" would be good and that is what I got. Basically, it is a po-boy (ham/cheese or roast beef) and a choice of sides. She got Crab Cakes. While only an appetizer, it more than satisfied her hunger. She said they were delicious. Once we got lunch out of the way, it was back to the casino floor. She hit her slots and I made a quick trip to ole 8189 to see if that Royal was ready to show up. No Royal but I was able to see a 4OAK (10's) that enabled me to at least break even. Eventually The Baboo came up and explained that she her luck had been non-existent and she was ready to go to the room for a while. I decided to join her. As we were walking past the bank of Wheel Of Fortune machines, I figured now was as good a time as any to take my swing at 12 million. Maybe her presence would bring me luck. Once again I spun the reels 10 times and once again I won NOT ONE SINGLE CREDIT. So the score was 24 spins and not even one credit to show for it. As we got off the elevator on the 8th floor, we had a great view of the construction taking place across the street on what will become Margaritaville in early 2010. I counted 7 big cranes in operation and enough dump trucks and other smaller pieces of equipment to make the entire site look like an anthill with all sorts of activity. Once in the room, we just relaxed a little. She even decided to take a nap.

    Since it was a pretty day, I got ready to spend a little time at the pool. There were a few other people there when I arrived but there was plenty of room. I usually take 3 beers with me when I go to the pool and needed them today since they hadn't opened the pool bar yet. While the weather was perfect for sunning, it was a little too cool for me to be jumping into the pool. Of course, that didn't stop the kids from doing so. It seems that it's never too cold for kids. The next two hours were quite pleasant as I sipped the cool ones and read my book, Poker Nation. The only slight distraction was that you could hear the constant beeping of back-up warning signals on the equipment across the highway as they worked to build Margaritaville.

    Back in the room, The Baboo was done with her nap. I quickly changed from my pool wear and we made our way back down stairs. She joined me at the VP bar and we played a while together. She lost $20 on quarters and I lost $50 on $'s. Tiring of this, we made our way over to the high limit area to try our combined luck on some $5 machines. As always, she picks a machine and we run $100 thru it and then I pick a machine to run $100 thru. She picked a 5 times pay and I picked a Double Diamond. It didn't seem to matter as neither machine gave us enough to cash out. At least both gave a few small hits that let us play a little bit. The end result was that both credit meters zeroed out and we were done.

    I headed back to the VP bar and she decided to try the penny machines in an effort to extend her bankroll. Once I settled in, I noticed that the progressive still hadn't topped the $4,100 mark. I don't know how much they divert to the progressive but it sure did climb slowly. I was able to double my money on this session, mostly on the strength of a 4OAK (4's). The only other noteworthy thing was the guy sitting next to me who was milking the bar for drinks. He never played a hand as far as I could tell but would occasionally fool around with the screen changing from game to game. He was steady getting his Coors Light though. I guess the bartenders weren't monitoring too closely as long as he kept tipping. Just before I left, the bartender asked if he was ready for another one. He responded "What I am ready for is a double Crown and Coke". He got it too. So basically he was drinking free for the price of a tip.
    I played an hour or so and finally cashed out when I played down to my original buy-in.

    I went to find The Baboo and discovered her on some penny machine that I can't remember the name of. Watching her play was pretty amusing but I never did get a real accurate picture of what won and how much. She finally went broke and called it a night. I decided to make one more run at the tables before joining her. There were seats available on a blackjack table so I joined the fun. Only it wasn't much fun. I bounced up and down for a while but then started to lose more than I won. Having lost my mood to play, I colored up with my $150 loss and went to the room for a break.

    Once up there, we got to looking over the movie menu and saw a couple that we wanted to watch. Since we were both ready for a little break from the casino, we wound up staying in the room and watching movies the rest of the night. They were entertaining and definitely cheaper than the casino floor had been. Later, we discovered an interesting little feature. They have a wide variety of music packages available thru the TV system. We bought a two hour package of early rhythm and blues. Nothing all that unusual about that. The neat thing we discovered was that if you buy a music package, you can choose from several romantic scenes to put on your TV. The only two I remember are the two we used. First we started with a roaring fireplace and then later switched to a peaceful beach scene with waves lapping. They were a perfect complement to the smooth R&B sounds for creating a nice atmosphere in the room.

    One good thing about staying in was getting our energy level back to normal. I got up the next morning and made my run down to Starbucks for coffee and pastries. We enjoyed a nice leisurely breakfast in the room while watching a shrimp boat just off the beach as they plied their trade. After breakfast, I went down to my old hangout, the VP bar at the stage. I threw the bartender a curve ball and ordered a White Russian instead of my usual Miller Lite. The first one tasted so good, I had to have two more before I left. I had put a $150 TITO ticket that I had failed to cash earlier in the machine and a $15 free play coupon so I started with 165 credits. By the time I got to the second White Russian I was down to 30 credits. I vowed that if I could ever get back into triple digits, I would cash. Good Ole 8189 finally threw a few flushes my way and I crept back over the 100 credit mark. Actually, I could have cashed for about what I put in but one of the flushes I got was the 6-10-J-Q-K of clubs. I threw away the 6 (and winning hand) to shoot for the Royal and drew a blank to give me a non-winner. I took my $100 ticket and went over to the WOF machines to give them my daily whirl. As you might guess, I didn't win the 12 million. In fact, I didn't even cash a winner despite having my best day yet on these machines. I hit mixed bars three times to actually play a little this time but I eventually burned up the $30 I was willing to dedicate to my retirement quest and moved on.

    Making my way to the lobby bar, I got my usual Miller Lite and ordered a Shrimp Po-Boy. By now the opening game of the SEC basketball tournament had started and I enjoyed watching that on the flatscreens behind the bar. I had been a little concerned about getting the game because the channels I could get in the room did not include the network that was carrying the SEC tournament. At least I knew I could watch it here. The Po-Boy was excellent. Who knows, these shrimp may have come off that boat I was watching earlier. They were certainly fresh. It was so good, I ordered one to go so that The Baboo could enjoy one up in the room. She was most appreciative. The day was beautiful with temps in the mid to hi 70's and bright sunshine. That made our decision to spend the day at the pool an easy one. After her lunch was eaten, we packed up our gear and headed to the pool. Baboo was quite impressed at all the activity going on over at the Margaritaville site. That is going to be one big development when it is finished. If you are familiar with the layout of the casinos before Katrina. This worksite begins East of where the old Grand Casino Theater was and goes uninterrupted all the way down to where the old Casino Magic property was. Like I said, it is gonna be big. There were a few more people out at the pool than the day before, probably due to the nice weather. I think the Grand must have noticed because, unlike the day before, they had stocked the towel racks with nice fluffy towels. We spent the afternoon enjoying the sun and catching up on our reading. Just about the time we were ready to go in, I finished my book so the timing on that worked out perfectly.

    Once in the room, I asked if she wanted to go on a casino run with me. I had $150 free play at the Palace and I also wanted to give the Imperial Palace some play to get my mailouts coming again. She had gotten a little bit of a burn and decided to just stay in for a while. I had a $100 food credit for Mignon's at The Palace but even that did not sway her. She wanted to save some cash for our Hard Rock/Beau Rivage visit the next day. So off I went on my own. It took all of about 2 minutes to get to the Palace. Initially, I had a little problem getting my freeplay to come up but a super nice lady at their players club booth got me fixed up pretty quick. I then took my $150 and ran it thru a $5 Wild Cherry machine. This machine hit enough that I turned that $150 in free play into $200 cash. I still don't understand why they have been so generous to me based on just one night of play. I went looking for a VP bar to give them a little more play with my winnings but there was none to be found. As I wandered around the property, it became clear to me that I would probably never develop all that close a relationship with this casino. Having reached that decision, I cashed in my ticket and hit the door. I almost felt guilty since the lady at the player's club had been so friendly.

    The next stop was at the Imperial Palace. I had the good sense to park in one of the outdoor lots and leave the parking garage alone so I was out of the car and in the casino in just moments. Once inside, I did a walk-about to refresh my memory of where everything was located. The reason my mailers stopped coming was because I hadn't been here to play since we had our Fantasy football draft here a year ago. So I wanted to see any changes for myself. As I walked around, I was continually confronted with improvements that the IP made after the storm. Before Katrina, I was never all that much of an IP fan, but I really like their property now. The casino floor has lots of room and lots of options, especially on their tables. After my walk-about, I settled in at a corner seat at the VP bar on the back wall. This gave my left eye a nice view of the cocktail servers station and my right eye a nice view of the main walkway of the casino. In other words, an excellent people watching station. I opened up a .50 JOB game and began play. The paytable for this .50 game was 8/5. I think the $1 version was 8/6 (maybe even 9/6) but I didn't want to play that high over here. It turned out to be a good thing too. It took a while (4 beers) but I eventually zeroed out my credit meter. If I had been playing dollars, that would have cost me $200 instead of the hundy the .50 cost. Then I wouldn't have any of the money The Palace had so kindly given to me. I wanted to get a look at the poker room to see how active it was so I began going up to the third floor. Surprisingly for late afternoon, the poker room was a hub of activity with many tables in action. I wasn't really in the mood for poker because I didn't want to stay over here long enough to give myself the best chance to win. (I had an Ole Miss game to watch at 7 PM) That is one of few things I don't like about the Grand. No poker room. Therefore, I sat down at the third floor VP bar and stuck in a $20 to piddle away at a .25 game for a while. Actually, it was a little while, a very little while. It took exactly 21 hands to go from 80 credits to 0 credits. Taking that as a sign, I took off for the Grand.

    Once back at the Grand, I checked to see if The Baboo wanted to hit the buffet and use my free coupons. She was still a little full from lunch and snacking on room snacks so she declined. I made a run thru the lobby bar to be sure that they would have the SEC tournament on that night and got the reassurance I needed. They would even have the volume high enough to hear the announcers. With that info, I went and found my regular seat at 8189 open and fed in a Benjamin. At least the progressive had made some movement and was now almost at $4,300. I guess this machine was tired of seeing my ugly mug because it sure wasn't as kind as usual. I went thru my $100 much quicker than this machine had done so far. The only really interesting hand was a 4 to a Royal that didn't hit but did complete the flush. I guess that sort of made up for the flush I broke up earlier to chase the Royal. Knowing this machine had been kind to me the two previous days, I stuck another C-note in and kept playing.

    While I was here, I asked the bartender if it would be possible to get the SEC game on the TV I was watching. I explained that they had it on in the lobby bar. He replied that they should be able to get it also. In a minute, he was back explaining that the remote to that TV had been misplaced but he had called maintenance and they would bring a ladder to climb up and change channels by hand. Now I thought that was going the extra mile for customer service. I guess it didn't hurt that I had been sitting in this exact chair for many hours the preceding two days. When maintenance arrived, there were actually two guys devoted to this endeavor. One was the worker who would climb the ladder and change the channel and the other was a supervisor who would make sure it was done correctly. A lot of manpower to change a TV channel. Unfortunately, this particular model of TV was somehow set to only take commands from a remote so they were unable to get my game on. They left and I thanked them for trying. The supervisor said he had one more trick to try and that he would do that.

    Since it was getting close to game time, I went down to the Lobby Bar and secured me a seat right in front of the middle TV. As promised, they had the volume up loud enough to hear the announcers so everything was great. I ordered up some chicken tenders and got ready for the game. The game went OK. It was hard fought contest between Ole Miss and Georgia. There were a number of people who had the same idea that I did and the tables were full of people watching the game. At halftime, I made a quick run up to the stage bar and saw that they had somehow gotten the game on the TV I needed it on. By now I hd gotten used to being able to hear the announcers and decided to go back and reclaim the seat the bartender was holding for me. The second half was really exciting and I was loving it until literally the last second. After going into overtime, Georgia took the ball the length of the court with 5.6 seconds left and made a game winning shot with 0.4 seconds left. A great clutch win for them that would eventually lead them to the tournament championship. Unfortunately, that also burst our NCAA bubble and sent us to the NIT. There is some silver lining to that dark cloud. Last night we beat Virginia Tech to advance to the NIT final four. Maybe we can pick up a trophy at Madison Square Garden.

    I was really disappointed in the Rebels for their last half-second loss and decided to try and cheer myself up in the casino. In retrospect, that might not have been such a great idea considering my mood. Regardless, I was feeling the blackjack itch. After making a couple of rounds around the blackjack pit, I narrowed my table choices down to two. They were both double deck pitch tables. One had two college kids on it and the other had three less than happy looking 40ish guys. I went to the table with the fun loving frat boys. Laying my money and card down, I watched them play until the dealer could shuffle. As she got my money out, the two young guys came to the conclusion that they wanted to go give craps a try. That left me heads up with the dealer. Not being a big fan of heads-up play, I considered moving over to my second choice in tables. Then I remembered the time at the old President Casino when I got into a heads up match and won over $2,000 in one of the best rushes I have ever played. Unfortunately, that was a different dealer and a different time. This dealer brutalized me. Before she even had to shuffle again, I had lost $200. With the exception of one blackjack, every single hand I got was a teenager ranging from 13 to 18. (most were 13,14,15,16) Once she finally got to a shuffle point, I stuck around to see if the second try was any better. I lost my first three hands
    (-$105) and decided teh heck with this. I colored up and got up.

    Before I headed up to Sleepy Town up in the room, I stopped by the craps pit to chat with my friend who works as a floor guy on table games. He is the one who EO'd and took me down to The Palace on my last trip down here. I told him about the really generous offers that they had been sending me but he said he had no clue why they were so generous. Feeling worn down, I took off for the room without even throwing the dice with my buddy.

    The next morning was departure day but we were going to make it a leisurely departure and visit a few spots before getting on the road. We had spotted an interesting restaurant in one of the local travel guides and decided to give it a try. The name of this place was "Shady's" and it was located on Pass Road, a main East/West artery a little North of the railroad tracks. A lot of locals use Pass Road as an alternative to Hwy 90. That might not be a bad idea for anyone to try until they get 90 patched back up. Anyway, Shady's advertised their food being a mixture of Thai, Italian, and Good Ole Soul food. We were curious to see those 3 mixed together. They also advertised that they had the NTN trivia we both like to play. It took us a little while but we eventually found Shady's. As we were driving up, we both felt that the food must be at least OK because there were two Biloxi Police cruisers in the parking lot. The front lot was full so we went around back and there was another BPD vehicle. If nothing else, the police liked this place. Once inside, we got the bad news that they had dropped their NTN subscription the month before. We checked out the menu and decided to stay. Almost all of the tables were occupied so we sat at the bar. Shady's clientel reminded me of the customers at the old Jim Bob's. They were a very wide-ranging group including uniformed military people, coat & tie business people, tourists like us, some college looking kids, and a variety of neigborhood locals. They also had a small patio outside but we were happy at the bar. Their decor was mostly Thai influenced but they had some other touches (such as a framed painting of Stevie Ray Vaughn) to give it an eclectic decorative feeling overall. They had a good selection of imported beers. I settled on a Red Stripe and Baboo went with her old reliable, a White Russian. She got baby back ribs and I went with simple chicken strips (not the Thai version) along with an order of ShadyMash.
    When our food came, I was reminded of something one of our restaurants here at home served called "The Chicken Mountain". My order of chicken strips was HUGE. Even better, these were real home-style chicken strips and definitely were not Tyson or some other Chicken Giant product. The ShadyMash was mashed potatoes with cheese and real bacon bits blended in and was absolutely delicious. As much chicken as I had , I knew I would need help finishing the Mash. As Baboo helped out, she expressed her agreement on their tastiness. A small bite from her ribs confirmed that everything was of top quality taste wise. When we saw the sign behind the bar proclaiming "Yes, we have no desserts", we knew why. No one would have room for dessert. After enjoying a fine meal in an enjoyable atmosphere we made our departure. We had one more surprise before we got completly away. There is a storage building on the lot that Shady's occupies. As we walked by, I had to look thru the windows to see what was inside. Of all things I didn't expect to see, there laying on the floor was the Pirate that stood just outside the entrance to Treasure Bay back before the storm. He was broken off at the knees but the rest of him was intact. I hope they do something productive with him. He looked a little worse for wear but ready to go back to work.

    After leaving Shady's, we made our way down Hwy 90 until we saw the Hurricane Camille Memorial. If you are ever driving down Hwy 90 and see a flagpole with a US flag attached leaning at almost a 90 degree angle, that is the Hurricane Camille Memorial. The flagpole got bent at that angle during Katrina and they thought it most appropriate to leave it that way. The bend is high enough that the flag is in no danger of touching the ground. This memorial features a big (12-15 ft wide) blue tile mosaic at ground level depicting a hurricane as seen from above. It has the names of all the people who died and who were never found carved into a stone (probably granite) semi-circle that half-moons the round tile mosaic. The thing that really struck us was the number of people who obviously perished together. There were many cases of a man and a woman with pretty unique names listed consecutively and were likely husband & wife. There were other cases that had to include children where the entire family was lost. It really gave you cause to think about the severity and danger of hurricanes.

    The Baboo had $250 worth of free play at Beau Rivage so that was our next stop. After our usual "lively discussion" about where to park for the most convenience in their garage, we made our way into the casino. She was going to be our representative here so I borrowed one of her MGM cards to play on at the Breeze Bar while she roamed the floor using her free play. I had noticed some signage welcoming players to a $150K blackjack tournament earlier so I walked over to where they usually play their BJ tournaments to see if I could figure out anything. It had to be an invitational tourny because there had been absolutely no mention of it on a tournament blackjack site I frequent. Of course, I was sure wishing I had gotten an invite. Anyway, I stayed at the Breeze for the next 90 minutes except for occasional jaunts over to the tournament area to see if I saw anyone I knew. I never did. About an hour and a half later, Baboo showed up with the sad news that her free play had not produced any wins. At least hers was free play, my $100 loss at the Breeze was real money.

    She had never seen the Hard Rock so we drove over to their garage and went inside so she could check them out. She registered for her players card and they loaded the $10 new member free play on it. I stil had mine on my card because I never got it to work when I originally registered. I am still confused by the HR free play system. I had two coupons from a mailer that were valid on this date for a total of $35 dollars. On this day, I never could get that free play to pull up where I could use. After walking around looking ar memorabelia for a while, we found ourselves at the big bar in the middle of the casino. We settled in and got a screwdriver (her) and a beer (me) to quench our thirst. We both enjoyed our time here (1 hour). This VP bar seems more like a real nightclub type bar than any other one on the Gulf Coast. They keep it pretty dark and having table games on both sides of it keeps the noise from machines down a lot. Plus, they usually have enough music going that machine noise is barely noticable if at all. We both lost money here but had a great time doing it.

    After leaving, I had to send her into the unisex bathroom. After a slight bit of initial confusion, she was more impressed with the TV's in the mirrors than the fact that I was able to stand next to her as she touched up her makeup. After that brief interlude, we made our way over to the high limit area to try our usual attempt at playing together on a $5 machine. Due to our dwindling bankrolls, we decided to just risk $50 each instead of our usual $100. As we often do, we wound up on her favorite machine, Top Dollar. When we play Top Dollar together, whoever hits the bonus round gets to control what offers we take. We had been playing a little while, when I got the Top Dollar symbol in the right spot. My first two offers were junk but my third was $150. Knowing that she had hit for $5,000 in New Orleans by going all the way to the final offer, that is what I did. Of course I didn't hit the 5K but it did pay us $125. Since I only dropped down $25, I didn't feel bad about not taking the $150 third offer. That did allow us to play a while but as usual, we eventually went broke. As we were walking out, our woes were compounded as we watched a lady getting a hand-pay on the other machine we had contemplated playing. I know that as quick as RNG's circulate, we probably wouldn't have won but it still irked us a little. So that was that and off we went.

    Once out on hwy 90, we made a concentrated effort to get a good look at all of the carvings in the middle of the median. After the storm, a volunteer carved all sorts of life-like stuff that changed the trunks of dead trees into really cool art. You see everything from life sized jumping dolphins to full sized pelicans that were once nothing but a living tree. I would love to get out and check them out up close if we ever have the time. Look for them in the median as you travel Hwy 90 in Biloxi and Gulfport.

    Our final stop was going to be Treasure Bay Casino. Again, The Baboo had not had a chance to visit them since the storm and wanted to check them out. Treasure Bay holds a special place in her heart because that is where she got her first W2G. Once inside, I gave her a quick tour of the first floor and then we made our way upstairs. After walking around for a few minutes, I took my inevitable seat at the main VP bar while she went to try and change her luck on a slot machine. I played $ JOB and just meandered along until I finally lost my $100 after about 45 minutes. Amazingly enough, I was getting a little bored with JOB video poker and had to make a change. I walked over to a nearby 3 card poker table and saw that they used the original pay table that pays 4-1 for a flush. That was enough to get me in a seat. There were 4 other players and I was fortunate to get my favorite seat, the first base seat. As luck would have it, I started of with some pretty decent hands and quickly won almost $200. We lost two of the players and it seemed that my luck changed when they left. The dealer started getting all those good hands that had been going to the players and our losses mounted. By the time The Baboo arrived, I was only $100 ahead. When she suggested we depart, I quickly colored up and took my small win. So between the $100 VP loss and the $100 3CP win, I broke even for our hour and a half at Treasure Bay. At least I was back on their mailing list.

    We finally got on the road with home as our destination. We made one more stop in Hattiesburg at Buffalo Wild Wings to get a bite to eat and watch a little of the MSU Bulldogs SEC tournament game. This was the game that was being played when a tornado struck the downtown Atlanta area, including the arena they were playing the SEC tournament in. After they announced that they were going to delay the game for a while, we loaded up and made our way to home sweet home.

    If you made it this far, congratulations on your stamina. I hope all those junky details didn't get too boring. I include everything I can remember so that I can read these TR's in the future and relive the good and bad moments that all gambling trips contain.

    TRs are a Good News/Bad News type thing for me. The Bad News is that it sometimes takes me forever to find the time to get one typed up. The Good News is that I enjoy writing them and then re-reading sometime later.

    We will be back on the Gulf Coast two weeks from today to see The Blue Man Group at Beau Rivage. If I don't lose my notebook, I will get a TR up for that adventure.

    Whew! My fingers are tired.
  2. shitzumama

    shitzumama Tourist

    Feb 11, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Sounds like you guys had a great time. Thanks for the TR.
  3. mckellyz

    mckellyz Newbie

    Aug 7, 2007
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Thanks for posting! Great TR!:wave:
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